Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration has embarked on a journey to ensure Rs 1,484.72 crore for Health and Medical Education sector in the Budget 2022-23 for accessible, affordable, and quality healthcare facilities for its people.
J&K is simultaneously running health Melas, health schemes, building medical infrastructure, digitalization of health records, collaborating with eminent academics for medical research, and successfully running the world’s largest health insurance scheme fully financed by the government.
Prime Minister Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat-SEHAT scheme in December 2020 under which almost 1,000 patients apply for free IPD (Inpatient Department Care) treatment in J&K. Beneficiaries are given “gold cards” – the health insurance cards that can be shown at medical centers for free treatment. 60 lakh cards have been issued so far and 16.36 lakh families have at least one member registered with SEHAT.
The scheme provides universal health cover of Rs 5 lakh a family every year at empanelled public and private hospitals. An amount of Rs 1.7 crore is spent daily by the government for disbursing the medical bills of the citizens.
The Samba district is the first in India to cover 100 per cent of households under the SEHAT scheme. The State Health Agency registered 62,641 families with 3,04,510 people eligible for golden cards. J&K’s health revolution has earned it the top position among the leading States/UTs of the country. The upcoming medical infrastructure of the UT includes — 2 AIIMS, 7 new Medical Colleges, 2 Cancer Institutes, 10 new Nursing Colleges, 150 district/sub-district hospitals, and thousands of health and wellness centers.
Additionally, three locations have been finalised to be converted into Medical Cities — Sempora (Pulwama), Lelhar (Pulwama), and Bemina (Srinagar). J&K has emerged as the top investment destination in the past few months. The Gulf has invested thousands of crores in UT’s healthcare system. A total of 5,000 new hospital beds and 1,000 additional MBBS seats underway will transform the patient-care in J&K. In the last year 140 projects worth Rs 881 crore were completed to build healthcare foundations in all the districts.
Further to make essential medical treatment affordable to all, 108 Jan Aushadhi Kendras have been opened across J&K. The Kendras have touched inaccessible areas like Arnas, Darmi (Reasi), Sedow (Shopian), Tangdar, Kalarose, and Sogam (Kupwara). The medicines here cost 50-90 per cent less than the market price.
An accessible and indiscriminate healthcare facility is the right of all citizens and
measures are being taken at the ground level to achieve this standard. For the hilly districts of J&K that have hardly been a part of civilization, 11 mobile health units are functioning to cater to their needs.
Jammu and Kashmir has risen as the model state for the country in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic. The eligible population is fully vaccinated, and the vaccination drive for the 15-17 age groups is in process. The UT government also released the Saksham Scheme under which a scholarship of Rs 20,000 per annum will be given to school children and Rs 40,000 per annum to college students for the families who have lost their breadwinner due to Covid.
The Prime Minister has highlighted the Sabka Saath, Sabka Prayas approach many times for UT’s development. Not only do the government and tertiary hospitals provide medical facilities, but they take careful note to streamline their processes through – Mera Aspatal Patient Feedback System. This month Mission Youth organised an immersive Emergency First Responder Training programme for its members. The government recognizes that knowledge of basic survival skills given to youth will save thousands of lives in extreme situations.
Across the districts the Ayushman Bharat Health Mela is running in full swing. Thousands of patients are being screened by the Health Department which has set up stalls for Gynecology, ENT, Eye, Child Health Specialty, Dermatology, General Medicine, Orthopedics, Mental Health, Dentistry, etc. Diagnostic tests and free medicines are being distributed to the needy. These melas have proved beneficial in communicating to people at the ground level about their health issues and the corresponding health schemes that the UT administration provides to cover them. The Health Department has also involved Food Safety, Ayush and Youth Service, and District Sports Departments to talk about the importance of nutritious food, yoga, and exercising.
The UT has a major National Mental Health Programme in place, along with eight Addiction Treatment Facilities (ATFs) in Kashmir to help youth overcome the trauma of the harsher times J&K has survived through.
Today J&K is not just a frontrunner in medical establishments and services; it is also competing in the medical research field, where distinguished personalities of Modern Medicine nationally and internationally will deliberate upon the way forward in healthcare.
All the above-mentioned projects and initiatives have been operating in April, 2022 alone. With this one can only imagine the magnanimity of the Prime Minister’s long-term vision of transforming healthcare in J&K.
Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology in association with the IIT Kanpur and the University of Kashmir is organising a 2-day international conference on ‘Recent Advances in Biomedical Sciences and Regenerative Medicine (RABSRM 2022) on May 6-7. It is a Government of India initiative.